A dog training manual with a foreword written by Clark Gable???
Carl Spitz was a German immigrant who made his way to Los Angeles where he started the Hollywood Dog Training School in 1927. His mark on cinema was great. It was his dog, “Terry” who played Toto in The Wizard of Oz. It was a Saint Bernard he trained (“Buck”) to pretend to be asleep, then raise his head quickly and look alert at the appropriate cue in the movie, “Call of the Wild.” It was Carl Spitz who bridged the era from silent films to “talkies,” and it was he who noted how much this changed the communication methods that could be used between trainer and dog. The pair had to transition from verbal cues to totally silent ones.
As an aside, Spitz also trained dogs used by the Pinkerton Detective agency and was among the trainers who stepped forward for the U.S. to help train the canine corps that was newly formed during World War II.
In 1938, Spitz wrote a dog training manual, “Training Your Dog,” and the foreword was written by Clark Gable who had worked with Spitz and “Buck” in that movie, “The Call of the Wild.”
After Carl Spitz, the training school facility was owned and run by Rick Karl who attributed his interest in a dog training career to a German Shepherd he owned during college. “She was a really special animal,” he said. Karl graduated from Southern Illinois University with a double major in psychology and sociology and decided to see if a career as a dog trainer was a possibility. “I could always go back to finish training for my original career in rehabilitation counseling.”
He never did, and after forty years, Karl retired and closed the doors of the Hollywood Dog Training School in November of 2017 and now only does selective training at his ranch.
Image: Clark Gable and “Buck.”